How has Covid-19 changed our views on food, family and life?
When it was announced we were heading into lockdown I felt like a cartoon anvil had fallen on my head. I stood reeling as I considered the reality of working from home, with two small children, no access to take-away and deadlines that were not going to move an inch, not even for a global pandemic. I thought about all of the ways it was going to be exhausting, stressful and impossible. Two months later I sit at home writing this on the eve of our move to level 2 and I realise that there is so much I am excited to do from tomorrow, but not all of it is what I would have said if you had asked me two months ago. From tomorrow I will…
I am not a gym junkie, far from it, but I like to go at least once a week and I didn’t realise how much I needed it until it was gone. I discovered the gym is the only thing in my life that is just mine, it is not about my children, my husband or my work, it is 90 minutes of ‘Megan-time’. I vow to always make time for Megan-time, no excuses.
Prior to lockdown my husband I would pop to the supermarket for this, or that, almost daily. While at the shop we would inevitably grab several things we didn’t really need, most of which were not the healthiest choices (Mr Pinot Noir I am talking about you), but with the enormous wait times at our local supermarket during the early days of lockdown we got much better at planning ahead and making do with what we had. We spent less, wasted less and ate better and now that is our #newnormal.
Just before lockdown my husband and I had booked a babysitter for the night of our wedding anniversary. We hadn’t decided where we were going to eat yet, but we were having a lot of fun trawling online menus and narrowing it down to a shortlist. I still have that shortlist and I am not just going to visit one - our babysitter is going to be busy - I am going to visit them all.
Keep it alive
With the initial bread shortages at the start of lockdown I decided to take my horribly neglected sourdough starter out of the fridge and see if I could bring her back to life. By day three of twice daily feedings she was looking bubbly and fabulous. Since then I have been careful to feed her often and have made everything from sourdough bagels, to apple donuts and pancakes. I figure if I can remember to feed my children, I can remember to feed her too.
My family and I were getting ready to set off on a trip to China earlier this year. The trip was, understandably, postponed - indefinitely - but the travel bug has been sitting there, just beneath the skin, itching away at me for the last two months. Overseas travel is a long way off but we are having fun planning our next adventure within New Zealand, with my oldest child really enthusiastic about an adventure trip to Rotorua. Having spent two months stuck in one suburb, the idea of traveling even a few hours away sounds as exciting as any intrepid overseas adventure could.
Of all the cultural shifts brought on by Covid-19, one of the most interesting to me is the idea that staying home when you are sick is the professional, socially responsible choice. Hopefully this shift is permanent and gone are the days of the stoic boss who boasts about never taking sick days and looks down on those who do. It never made sense to me that I was somehow perceived to be more serious about my job if I dragged my snot-covered, fever-riddled body into an office full of healthy people, rather than staying home. Now, for the benefit of everyone I work with, I will stay home, working where I can, but ultimately doing my best to keep my germs to myself.
Enjoy my children
If you told me two months ago I would be sad about the idea of my children finally going back to school and day care, I would have laughed at you, in fact I would probably still be laughing all of these months later. The truth is, while it has been loud, crazy and disorganised it has also been kinda fun. While I am working I sometimes get a little surprise visitor who gives me a quick hug. When I take a break I sit down and join in whatever game my boys are playing, they are hilariously funny, I laugh about a thousand times a day. I am not sure I had ever really appreciated how funny they are. I also realised, having always been in school or daycare, this is by far the longest constant time my boys have spent together and they are much closer for it. I think somewhere along the line I flipped the narrative from ‘I have to work with my children around’ to ‘I get to have my children around while I work’ and that simple semantic adjustment made all the difference.